Filippo Cavriana's Secret Correspondence, 1568—1589.

detail of ASFi MP 4726a f.17v–18r

Filippo Cavriana’s secret letters provide a unique testimony of the French wars of religion, covering for more than 20 years the intrigues, battles, negotiations, and conspiracies that paced life at the court of France and beyond.

The letters, which can be found at the State Archives of Florence, are for the most part dispersed in hundreds of uninventoried bundles, or filze as they call them in Florence. While I have been able to discover dozens of new letters over the past years, this type of archival research is proving to be increasingly difficult. Geographic distance from Florence, the degradation of some public services in Italy, and the Covid-19 pandemic, all contribute to make this kind of publication projects a long and uncertain process.

Publishing primary source documents should remain, in spite of the increasing difficulties, part of an historian’s job. The shape that these publications may take, however, should probably evolve. Not only should primary source publications adapt to the situation I described above, but also better reflect the incremental nature of this research, while making it possible for someone else to continue it.

Hence the idea to develop a new type of digital publication project that is scalable, sustainable, trusted, platform independent, and potentially collaborative.

Clément Godbarge
Clément Godbarge
Warbrug—I Tatti Fellow

My research interests include early modern history, Italian literature and the digital humanities.